By Evette D. Champion
If you own stock in hair relaxers, you may have noticed a drop. More #black women are choosing to keep the chemicals out of their hair and embrace their natural beauty.
According to Modjossorica Elysee, the head of Boston Naturals, a group of women who want to go natural, this is not a trend. A consumer research group, Mintel, disclosed a report that the sales of hair relaxer has dropped from $206 million from 2008 to $152 million in 2013. Interestingly, products on how to care for natural hair are rising.
A multicultural analyst for Mintel, Tonya Roberts, said that styling products like moisturizers, setting lotions, pomades, and curling creams are being snatched up by consumers.
Money and profits may give you an idea of where hair care trends are going, but they cannot compare to the real stories from women who have taken the leap and decided to embrace their natural hair.
In recent history, natural hair was viewed negatively in American society. Early on, when women decided to reject the relaxers and go natural, they were looked upon negatively.
In an article published on the Boston Globe, one woman shared her story about her decision to cut off her straight, chemically relaxed hair and go natural. She said people asked her why she chose to do that. She says now, people are coming up to her and asking her about how she cares for her hair.
Chris Rock had a documentary in 2009 called “Good Hair.” In it, he interviewed people and asked them why they wanted to achieve the “European standard” which meant straight hair. He asked women why they chose to spend thousands of dollars on weaves, harmful chemicals that can do more damage, and let’s not forget how time consuming the entire process is. All of these things are part of the reason why women from the Boston Natural Meet Up Group have decided to go natural.
Unfortunately, as many people are embracing the natural hair revolution, some institutions are not so tolerant. The Army produced a new standard for black women to wear their hair. This new standard excludes many twist, dreadlock and large cornrow styles—all of these styles are usually worn by women with natural hair.
Fortunately, sixteen women of the Congressional Black Caucus claimed these changes were “discriminatory rules targeting soldiers who are women of color.” As a result, the Army is looking over the rule.
Before, black women felt the need to conform to the popular ideals of what beauty should be. Today, women are going their own way and wearing their hair how they want to—and wearing it proudly.